Opening Day at Citi Field is in 10 days. And with the minor injury to Jason Vargas, there has been a wrench thrown into things. Below are the players I think the Mets will carry…
Catchers (2): Travis d’Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki
Since the season ended, it has been expected that d’Arnaud and Plawecki (though both right-handed hitters) will split time at catcher this season. And nothing has happened since then to change that.
Infielders (6): Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilmer Flores, Todd Frazier, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Reyes, Amed Rosario
Five of the above players came in to Spring Training as rightful locks, and the other (Gonzalez) came in as a lock as long as he stayed healthy. So far, he has stayed healthy while doing nothing to show he has much left in the tank. Dominic Smith was already destined for the minors (though he shouldn’t have been) before his lateness issue and quad injury. Let’s just hope the Mets cut bait with Gonzalez quickly if his struggles carry over to the regular season.
Outfielders (4): Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares, Brandon Nimmo
While there has been recent interest from other teams regarding trading for Lagares, the Mets would be wise to wait until Michael Conforto returns to make that move. Their outfield depth right now is close to non-existent, meaning Matt den Dekker would likely be the fourth outfielder if Lagares was traded before the season.
Starting Pitchers (5): Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
The first two are absolute locks, and the third (Harvey) is a lock as long as he remains healthy. Before Vargas was injured, there was one spot left for Matz, Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, and Seth Lugo. The Mets don’t want to use either Matz or Wheeler in the bullpen, so the writing is on the wall here.
Bullpen (8): Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman, Matt Purke, AJ Ramos, Jacob Rhame, Paul Sewald, Anthony Swarzak
Blevins, Familia, Ramos, and Swarzak are locks, and Sewald is a near-lock. If the Mets want a second lefty, Purke is the answer. Beyond that, they were expected to carry Rafael Montero because he’s out of options and they don’t want to risk losing him. However, Mickey Callaway was emphatic last week when he said "we’re going to take the best pitchers, period."
That leaves two spots, with one going to Gsellman over Lugo, who is dealing with a torn UCL in his elbow and should be kept on a regular schedule. The final spot should be secured by Rhame.
Projected spots for bubble players left off the roster
Dominic Smith will begin the year with Triple-A Las Vegas along with Seth Lugo, who will stay stretched out as a starter. Hansel Robles will also be optioned to Triple-A.
Rafael Montero is out of options and must be passed through waivers.
What I would’ve done differently
I wouldn’t have signed Adrian Gonzalez
Smith should have come to camp with a chance to win the job, and he wasn’t given that chance.
In signing Gonzalez, the Mets added a one-dimensional player who likely has nothing left. If they wanted to go the route of Smith in the minors, they would’ve been better off signing someone like 1B/OF Adam Lind, who is again a free agent after being released today by the Yankees.
New York Mets winning pitcher Jeurys Familia pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)